The formation of the Transitional National Government (TNG) in August 2000 was the most significant development in the politics of Somalia for a decade. The TNG was the outcome of a lengthy process of public dialogue and negotiation that placed more emphasis on civil society involvement rather than factional representation. In contrast to other Somali peace conferences it formally included women and minor clans among the voting delegates. Although the conference attracted participants from most of Somalia’s regions, some prominent Mogadishu – based faction leaders chose not to participate, as did the Somaliland authorities and the formal Puntland representatives. The politico-military leadership of the Rahanweyne groups of clans, the Rahanweyne Resistance Army (RRA) took part but withdrew support once the conference was ended.

Established in Mogadishu in October 2000, the TNG has a 245- member Transitional National Assembly (of which 25 seats are reserved for women – see Chapter 9) and a president and prime minister supported by a 25-member cabinet selected from the 75 ministerial posts. It enjoyed international acceptance in the UN General Assembly, the Arab League and the African Union, which gave Somalia formal rep­resentation in these bodies for the first time in a decade. However, it was slow to win support within Somalia. In October 2002, with conflict increasing, the Inter-Governmental Agency on Development (IGAD) launched a 14th internationally sponsored peace process, held in Kenya. At the time of writing, April 2003, this process was still ongoing.